“Every kid should learn to ride a bike, but not every kid has the opportunity,” said Christine Bourgeois, who spearheaded the effort to bring a bicycle program into 2nd grade PE classes at seven elementary schools in Santa Barbara County. “Second grade is the perfect age to teach kids to ride their bikes because they don’t have fear, they’re not too embarrassed yet, and they’ve got the balance to ride,” said Bourgeois, who modeled the program after a successful one that’s been at Adams School for quite some time.
The four-week program teaches kids how to ride, covers cycling safety, and culminates with a class ride to the beach or a park. With the help of COAST and S.B. Bicycle Coalition, PE teachers — such as Christy Lozano at McKinley Elementary — are able to give each kid the attention they need when learning to ride. An anonymous foundation interested in teaching kids to bike in school provided funding and donated 20 bikes each to Franklin, McKinley, and Adams, while a fleet of 20 bikes in a trailer will make their way to the remaining schools, including two in Santa Maria.
“My hope is to change the culture of the schools and then hopefully change the culture at home, too,” said Bourgeois.